• Pope Benedict XVI attempts to allay fears on conservative leadership
• Pope indicates he wishes to strengthen ties with other religions
• Pope presented with symbols of pastoral leadership in ceremony
"My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history" - Pope Benedict XVI
Story in full POPE Benedict XVI yesterday sought to allay the fears of Catholics concerned about his hard-line conservative image by insisting that his leadership of the Church would be guided by "the will of the Lord" rather than by his own ideas.
The new Pontiff, who has admitted being a member of the Hitler Youth as a teenager in Germany, also highlighted the Church’s "great spiritual heritage" with Jews during his inauguration Mass in St Peter’s Square, Rome.
About 400,000 pilgrims and dignitaries attended the three-hour ceremony, during which the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger drew warm applause when he said his predecessor and close friend, Pope John Paul II, was now "at home" with the saints.
In his 20-minute homily, the Pope said he was taking on an "enormous task" and asked for the prayers of those present to help him carry out his duties. "I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone," he said. "All the saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me."
Those on the liberal wing of the Catholic Church have expressed their reservations at the choice of new Pope, pointing out his conservative stance on issues such as homosexuality and contraception. But in a clear attempt to reach out to all of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict said he planned to be guided by God in his new role.
"My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history," he said.
The Pope also indicated that he wanted to strengthen links with other Christian churches, Jews and those of other faiths and none.
He said: "With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of baptism but are not yet in full communion with us.
"And you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God’s irrevocable promises.
"Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and non-believers alike."
In accordance with tradition, the Pope was presented with the Fisherman’s Ring and woollen Pallium, or stole, as symbols of his pastoral leadership.
The ring is emblazoned with an image of Saint Peter, the first Pope, casting his fishing nets, and was traditionally used to seal apostolic letters. It contains 35 grammes of gold and was crafted by the Association of Roman jewellers for the new Pope last week.
The Pallium is embroidered with five silk red crosses to symbolise the five wounds of Christ on the cross.
In ancient Roman times it was worn by emperors but now it symbolises the Pope’s role as a "shepherd of the people".
The wool came from a flock of new lambs raised on a farm just outside Rome by an order of Trappist monks, and was woven by an order of Benedictine nuns.
A smiling Pope Benedict waved to the crowd in his now trademark double handed salute as he was presented with the ring, which the 150 cardinals present queued up to kiss.
Twelve people, representing Christ’s apostles, also paraded up to greet the new Pope.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien would have taken the name Andrew had he been elected Pope.
Speaking for the first time since the election, the Cardinal said he had made up his mind to accept the choice of his fellow cardinals had he been elected.